Leviticus 10: Priesthood Holders Must Be Holy

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 58

Leviticus 10 is one of the few chapters in the book of Leviticus that tells a story instead of simply giving instructions. It contains a powerful message about faithfulness in the priesthood. As you read, consider this question: How does the Lord feel about the way we perform sacred ordinances?

Understanding the Scriptures

Leviticus 10

Took either of them his (v. 1)Each took his own 
Censer (v. 1)Container for burning incense 
Strange (v. 1)Forbidden 
Held his peace (v. 3)Did not speak 
Rend (v. 6)Tear 
Bewail (v. 6)Feel sad about 
Due (vv. 13–14)Payment or wages 
Wave breast (vv. 14–15)An animal’s breast held up and waved as part of the peace offering ceremony 
Heave shoulder (vv. 14–15)An animal’s shoulder held up and presented before the Lord as part of the peace offering ceremony 
Bear (v. 17)Carry 
Iniquity (v. 17)Sin 
Befallen (v. 19)Happened to 
Content (v. 20)Satisfied 

Leviticus 10:12–20—Why Didn’t Aaron Eat the Meat from the Offering?

Moses noticed that Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar did not eat the sin offering the way they were instructed. In response, Aaron told Moses that he didn’t feel right about eating the meat after what happened to his other sons because of their disobedience. This answer satisfied Moses. We should not participate in certain ordinances, like the sacrament, when we have not repented or when our priesthood leader has counseled us not to. If one desires to repent and improve, has not committed serious sins that have not yet been resolved with his bishop, and is not under priesthood restriction, the person is worthy to partake of the sacrament.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Leviticus 10.

Activity A iconGive Counsel on Properly Respecting the Priesthood

The Lord obviously does not strike dead all unrighteous, disrespectful priesthood holders today. In Leviticus 10, however, it was important that the Lord give this forceful lesson since Aaron’s sons treated the priesthood lightly so soon after the dramatic display of God’s glory at their setting apart (see Leviticus 9). To emphasize the importance of properly respecting the priesthood, use Leviticus 10:1–7 and Doctrine and Covenants 121:36–38 to give counsel to a young man who might be considering playing a “practical joke” as part of his involvement with the sacrament.

Activity B iconWhy Not?

  1. 1.

    What did the Lord command Aaron and his living sons not to do? (see Leviticus 10:8–11).

  2. 2.

    What reason did the Lord give for this commandment?